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Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, June 14, 2004  

Sleep Tight

Trash and I had budgeted about a day and a half to make the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Late in the afternoon of the first day, when the relentless winding of the Pacific Coast Highway was starting to make me a little dizzy, we stopped for dinner in Big Sur.

That stretch of Highway One—or more accurately, that tangle of Highway One—was somewhat reminiscent of some of the roads in the Black Hills, winding around the waists of hill after hill. One difference is that if you're in the Black Hills and there's an ocean on your left for any length of time at all, it's time to pull over and take another look at your map. The other difference is that in the Black Hills, the random roadside restaurant you have dinner at is not likely to be very good. The one in Big Sur was.

Considering how good the food and the service was at this place, we thought it might be worth investigating the motel across the road. Since we were clearly in a nice neighborhood and all. We were well over halfway to San Francisco by now, so we figured we might as well crash for the evening. While Trash waited for our food, I ran across the road and reserved a room. Not a motel per se, but a cluster of tiny little duplexes, the place looked adorable. And again, given how good the restaurant across the road was, how bad could it be?

So we finished our meal, drove the rental car across the road, paid for our room, and checked in. We really need to get more into the habit of checking out rooms before we pay for them.

There was no television. There was no telephone. And both electrical outlets were two-holers ,which made our battery-less laptop even more useless than the lack of a phone line already had.

I went to the office and explained that we couldn't stay here after all, because none of the outlets would work for us. Our host reached into a drawer and handed me one of those adapters that let you plug in a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet. Oh, thanks a lot. Now we have to actually sleep here.

Trash blamed me for our predicament, which was totally unfair, aside from the fact that I was the one who had insisted we stay there after Trash suggested we move on. I tried to put a good face on it. "It's like camping," I said. "But with walls."

"And no campfire, and no music," she pointed out. "We have all of the bad of camping and none of the good."

Which I thought was a little drama-queeny of her, as we hadn't even seen that many bugs in the room yet.

There was a little sign in the room explaining that if we had an emergency that required the use of a phone, we were welcome to walk down the road to the gas station/convenience store next door. My emergency was that my wife was about to kill me.

Instead of using the phone, I came back with a deck of cards and an assortment of snacks with the sell-by dates hand-written on their labels next to heavy ink scribbles. "We'll play cards for a while and go to bed early," I suggested.

I think this was at about 6:30.

It's not entirely accurate to say that there was no music. There was a clock radio in the room, but the combination of its age and our geographic isolation rendered it incapable of picking up anything but staticky opera and a handful of AM talk stations whose reception was so fuzzy we couldn't tell which wing they belonged to. After a half-hour of indistinct soprano warbling, Trash insisted I find another station.

Ten minutes of turning the dial a tenth of a degree at a time yielded nothing but a few frequencies with marginally louder static. But eventually I found a faint oldies station. 107.98765165198462168749 on your FM dial, if you're ever in the neighborhood. The problem was that as soon as I put the radio down, the station would disappear. It would only pick up the signal when in direct contact with a powerful antenna—i.e., my person.

So Trash and I spent the evening playing cards while I held the clock radio under my arm like a snack-dog. Every once in a while, we'd lose the signal and I'd have to shift its position ever so slightly, presumably to make contact with a part of my arm that still had the proper charge of ions or something. Throughout, the volume knob was digging into the inside of my elbow.

Trash: "Why don't you put the radio down?"

Me: "Okay!"

Radio: "I guess you'd say…what can make me…KKKKKKKHHHHHHHHHHHKKKHKKHKKKKHHKKKKKHH…."

Eventually we gave up and turned the radio off. By then my arm had so many imprints of the volume knob in it that it looked as if I had been accosted by an octopus.

We did indeed go to bed early, and we were packed up and out of there by 7:45 the next morning. Which is early for us, even when we're not on vacation. Yet ours was the second-to-last car out of the parking lot that morning. And the office wouldn't even be opening for another fifteen minutes. We debated briefly over whether we should leave our room keys in the room with the door locked or unlocked. We decided on the latter, because it wasn't like somebody was going to walk in and steal the TV.

I felt a little cheated, considering what we'd paid and what we'd gotten. Then, that night in San Francisco, I broke out the laptop again.

The three-prong adapter was still attached to the power cable. And we'd paid in cash.

Revenge is sweet, as long as you're not too picky about the portions.

Today's best search phrase: I get referrals from the phrase "Paige Davis naked" all the time. But today, I got a variation on the theme: "Why is Paige Davis naked?" I dunno, man. I'm not the one doing the search.

posted by M. Giant 5:07 PM 0 comments


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